TomTom and Microsoft

What a shame these clowns can’t get their act together. Instead of showing initiative and growing this massive opportunity to unite location and Microsoft technology, both parties have taken the ‘road most travelled’ and pursued litigation.

We’re not sure which party is most to blame, but that’s not the point. Another opportunity wasted, and more attorney’s pockets lined.

We can only hope that the ‘committed to a solution’ part in this statement by Microsoft’s Horacio Gutierrez is actually true, and not just PR woffle:

"We are reviewing TomTom’s filing, which we have just received. As has been the case for more than a year, we remain committed to a licensing solution, although we will continue to press ahead with the complaints we initiated in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and the International Trade Commission."

Source: Microsoft PressPass


(via Mary Jo Foley)

SQL Server 2008 1.1 Petabyte database

When we think of big databases, we probably think in the 20GB+ range – that’s just our experience. So getting to 100GB would be pretty serious.

Move that up to more than a TB in a database and you’re working with a seriously large database.

OK, so some database administrators reading this would be laughing, since they’ve likely worked with databases in this range a number of times.

But then when we hear about petabyte databases we just lose perspective. How do you put that in context? It’s bloody big right?

As announced this week, SQL Server 2008 is now preparing to crunch petabyte databases:

Perhaps the most impressive application of SQL Server so far – and one of the most dramatic – is the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS for short, a wide-field celestial imaging facility being built at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. Its architects plan to photograph the entire available sky several times each month, trying to discover asteroids and comets that could pose a danger to Earth. The huge volume of images produced by this system will no doubt also prove valuable for many other scientific programs.

When Pan-STARRS is fully operational, it will have four telescopes, each with a digital camera capable of 1.4-gigapixel resolution. With just one telescope in operation so far, the facility already generates 1.4 terabytes of image data per night. For the longer term, its architects are installing 1.1 petabytes (quadrillion bytes) of disk storage. Although Pan-STARRS won’t use up all of that storage right away, it will still rank as one of the world’s largest databases.

Compressing, storing and crunching that data is the job of SQL Server.

Source: Microsoft PressPass

That’s seriously huge. It compares with Yahoo’s 2 petabyte database and the likes of eBay, Amazon and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. The Top 10 largest databases are listed here.

Microsoft share price

Time to check in on how the Microsoft share price has travelled this week.Microsoft share price

And it seems that the announcements at PDC haven’t done much to boost investor confidence. Whilst there was some strengthening during last week, most of that has eroded this week. In a word people are: nervous.

With a P/E in the 11-12 range, the company is a good buy. But emotion rules in the stock market at present.

Microsoft PressPass shite

Following on from our previous post on using Microsoft press releases, comes an example of how sometimes the PR cronies really miss the point.

Here’s an example of how the Microsoft PressPass site can be guilty of pushing out too much shite. Take this post on how ‘Tough Economic Times can be Opportunity for IT Pros‘. This is one of the most shameless pieces of drivel we’ve seen in a long time.

With its catchy title you may think it purports to give advice or strategies on how to embrace opportunities during these uncertain times. No chance. This press release is little more than a listing of some of Microsoft’s upcoming releases. The fuckers at Microsoft PressPass have injected a major credibility killer with this one.

Take a gander at this bunch of hooey:

“We live in a hybrid world of software and services,” Anderson said. “Customers need to choose a path that best aligns with their strengths. Microsoft’s software-plus-services offerings allow businesses to choose, and benefit from both the convenience and security of on-premises software and the efficiency of Web-based services.”

Source: Microsoft PressPass

‘Customers need to choose a path that best aligns with their strengths.’ No shit Sherlock. Thanks a million for that gem.

The release then goes on to list Windows Server 2008 R2, Identity solutions, Dublin and even the TechNet Online social bookmarking site. What a fucking joke. Spare us.

Dear PR hacks, please lift your game. It’s embarrassing.

Microsoft press releases

We’ve copped a bit of criticism for how often we quote press releases here on Microsoft Confidential. And if we’re not doing that then we’re simply link blogging. Etc. Etc.

Sure. All valid. But here’s why we do it:

What you may not realise is that many other Microsoft based blogs do the same. Next time you are reading a post about a new product release from one of the big name blogs, you may want to pop over to the PressPass site and compare the content.

Yes, plenty of times you’ll find that investigative blog post is little more than a press release rehash.

The difference with us is that we are just really up front about it. When you see the quoted stuff in blue, you know it has come straight from Microsoft itself. The rest is all our (added-value <g>) content.

And as for link blogging, yes, no apologies there either. We always add the URL link and attribution, so we don’t see what the problem is. We add our opinion on things, but we never claim to be the originator of news. Quite simply, we aren’t that well connected to be breaking news items.

The reason people are reading us, is because we provide a pretty simple, hopefully readable, up-to-date, list of Microsoft news and views.

Anyway, hope that clears things up.


Microsoft and Security

Microsoft released its Security Intelligence Report today, giving insights into the way viruses, malware and other threats are trending.

The bad news: Malware and other unwanted shite removed from computers grew 43% (and no this didn’t include the copies of Vista that were removed and downgraded to XP <g>).

The medium news: Attacks are moving to the application layer, with only 10% of vulnerabilities being reported at the operating system level.

The good news: Microsoft vulnerabilities are down 33% this year over last year (more specifically: when comparing first half 2008 to second half 2007).

More details on the Malware Protection Center portal. Download the full 150 page report here, complete with pretty pictures like this:

Check out the fishing line - inspired!

Microsoft is clearly taking security very seriously (they’ve been telling us such for the last decade) and finally seeing some seeing some fruits of their labours.

Silverlight Toolkit on Codeplex

Still getting through all our news from last week and PDC, so please bear with us – normal up to date transmission will resume in the coming days <g>

The release of the Silverlight Toolkit on Codeplex deserves a mention.

The Silverlight Toolkit is a collection of Silverlight controls, components and utilities made available outside the normal Silverlight release cycle. It adds new functionality quickly for designers and developers, and provides the community an efficient way to help shape product development by contributing ideas and bug reports. This first release includes full source code, unit tests, samples and documentation for 12 new controls covering charting, styling, layout, and user input.

Source: Codeplex

Interestingly the project has four quality bands, from Experimental up to Mature. There’s nothing currently in the Mature band, but give it a few weeks and you’ll see that change.

The project also has a Themes section. Very cool.

Download the latest release here.

Windows Embeded ‘Quebec’

And continuing the previous discussion on Windows Embedded comes the news about the next version of Windows Embedded being built on Windows 7 (Windows 7 of course being the code name for, um, Windows 7).

[Editor: We are currently going back over the news of last week – you may remember we had a bit of technical hitch then]

Windows Embedded

Apparently its going to be powerful, familiar, reliable (and a whole bunch of other woffle words):

Built on Windows 7, Windows Embedded “Quebec” will offer developers a powerful, familiar and reliable experience that will include the following benefits:

. Rich user experience. The latest Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation tools deliver the next generation of media experiences and rich Internet applications for devices.

. Enhanced security and control. Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption and key management to protect data on embedded devices provide greater security. In addition, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 will provide defense from malicious Web sites and keep data private with improved security and InPrivate Browsing.

. Enhanced stability and improved performance. The new platform will offer enhanced stability and improved performance with investment in multicore architecture, including 64-bit processor support.

. Extended Web capabilities to the embedded device. Customers will have the ability to enable Web capabilities to their devices with Internet Explorer 8 accelerators and Windows Web services, benefitting from powerful, efficient Web applications, including offline capabilities.

Source: Microsoft PressPass

This is actually pretty exciting. Seeing Silverlight and WPF getting first point attention in the press release is pretty telling. If you’ve been unsure about Silverlight, then wake up – it’s the future.

And yes, Windows powered coffee machines are coming.

SPARKS will Fly challenge

Yes, another fucking competition from Microsoft.

As we recently posted, the .NET Micro Framework marketing hacks have their Dare to Dream Different challenge, and now the Windows Embedded team, not to be outdone, have their own challenge. At least they’ve been sensible enough to admit it is a contest.

It’s call the Sparks will Fly 2009 Challenge, and it involves

  1. Submitting a 3 page paper with your idea
  2. Building a working prototype (and providing a 3 minute video)
  3. Demonstrating it (if one of the 3 finalists)

As usual there’s a stack of cash ($15K) and a trip to TechEd 2009 (which they seem to include in all their competitions these days since it makes to the total $50K prize value seems so much bigger!)

Sparks will Fly

Yet another example of Microsoft trying to drum up interest in their products in entirely the wrong way. But this is just the beginning. Expect more and more ‘challenges’ from Microsoft in the coming months as it tries desperately to get the cool kids involved. Good luck with that one.

Entries are taken from now until January 9, 2009. Full details on the site.

.NET Micro Framework V3.0

The latest version of the .NET Micro Framework slipped out early last week (we’ve previously praised the Dare to Dream Different competition on the framework).

.NET Microsft Framework

This latest version includes some substantial improvements:

Version 3.0 brings several new features and enhancements to an already robust and productive development platform:

. Enhanced secure connectivity. .NET Micro Framework version 3.0 features new connectivity support, including Wi-Fi integration, Universal Serial Bus support, Web Services for Devices, secure sockets layer and support for a file system compatible with FAT32.

. Extended hardware choices. Enhancements include interoperability with native code allowing direct access to hardware, reduction in the minimum footprint to 64K RAM, a more accessible and easier-to-use porting kit, support for the Analog Devices Blackfin processor family, and ARM Thumb and Thumb-2 instruction sets.

. Increased productivity. A fully integrated development experience with both Visual Studio 2008 and Visual C# 2008 Express Edition – along with interoperability – provides developers with powerful debugging and emulation capabilities and a more flexible migration path for .NET developers and those with existing native code modules.

. Additional user interface options. Touch and gesture support enable development of more interactive and capable device applications.

Source: Microsoft PressPass

But you’ll notice the logo hasn’t changed – we can only guess it wasn’t important enough to get the new wave logo.